Here in Italy, many different circumstances have occurred that have caused me to ask myself some of these questions: “Who am I? What do I really like and what do I dislike? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What gives me joy? What brings me sorrow? What causes me to act a certain way in different situations?” Through various circumstances, I have realized how disconnected I am from really knowing myself. I have recently been reading a book that has a chapter in it discussing the importance of knowing ourselves so that we may know God better.
This concept makes sense when we reflect on Psalm 139, a psalm of David. Within that chapter of scripture, we are reminded that the God of the universe “formed every part of us, and knit us together in our mothers’ wombs” (vs.13). Everything that makes up our person reflects our Maker. God designed us perfectly the way He wanted to. The psalmist even writes that we were “intricately woven together” (vs.15) by God. And a phrase of the psalm that many of us know says “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” (vs.14).
If you are anything like me, there are probably different aspects about yourself that you may not like. I know that this has been something I have struggled with for the majority of my life! Whether you struggle with your physical appearance, different character traits you may posses, or wondering why you are the way you are, know that you have been perfectly made. I know that this is something we hear all the time, but I am personally tired of just hearing it. I am ready to not only start believing it, but also celebrate the way I was created. I hope that this does not come off as ego-centric or self-focused, but I am beginning to see so much value in knowing myself better, and rejoicing in the way my Maker created me.
I know for us women (or at least I can speak for myself in this), I am constantly struggling with accepting myself for who I am. Not only that, but I tend to look at other women and wish I had what they have. When I am unsatisfied with the way the Lord has created me, I think that it brings Him sorrow. It seems God is trying to encourage me to remember that when I am consumed with wanting to be like someone else, or I am not content with who He made me to be, I can’t fulfill the specific purpose that He has for me. As I begin to understand more of how God created me, and what His purposes are for me, I can understand His character more. I can understand how He wants to use the strengths He has given me to bring Him glory. I can understand how He wants to use the heart He’s given me to show His love to certain people. If I am disconnected from knowing myself, I can’t see these parts of His character.
So my challenge to you (and to myself), is to strive to understand more about ourselves. Every part. The aspects about ourselves that we may not like, our strengths, our weakness, our struggles and our joys. Ask God to help you get to know yourself better too. As we do this, my ultimate prayer is that we can know our Maker better, His steadfast love for us, and know that we truly are fearfully and wonderfully made.
St. Augustine wrote, “How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?” He prayed: “Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee.”
John Calvin: “Our wisdom… consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.”